SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon, everyone. Let me just start by expressing again my shock and sadness at the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As President Biden said yesterday, this is a tragedy for Japan, a tragedy for his family and loved ones and all who knew him, but also for the world because Prime Minister Abe was a transformative leader, a statesman, someone of truly global stature.
I’ve got to tell you the news of his death was felt very deeply throughout the G20, all of the foreign ministers, and I know it was felt deeply back home in Washington as well. Many of us had an opportunity over these years to work with former Prime Minister Abe during his very long tenure. I actually had a chance to meet with him myself in 2015 when I was Deputy Secretary. I still remember his hospitality, his graciousness. And of course, President Biden had several opportunities to work with him when he was Vice President.
The alliance between Japan and the United States has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for decades. And as I said yesterday, Prime Minister Abe really brought that partnership to new heights. The friendship between the Japanese and American people is likewise unshakable. So we’re standing with the people of Japan, with the prime minister’s family, in the aftermath of a truly, truly appalling act of violence. And I conveyed this directly as well to Foreign Minister Hayashi when he was here yesterday.
Here in Bali, the G20 nations came together to address some of the most critical challenges facing people around the world, including the far-reaching consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, particularly growing food insecurity, rising energy prices. It’s critical that the international community and especially the world’s largest economies represented here at the G20 take on these problems together in a coordinated way with the urgency they demand, and that was very much the spirit of the meetings that we had.
In the session yesterday we heard the majority of countries condemn Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, which, among other things, has included the targeting of Ukraine’s entire agricultural infrastructure – fields, warehouses, roads, transportation networks, silos, ports. Again and again, we heard calls from across the world represented in that room for Russia to open the Black Sea for Ukrainian grain shipments.
There was a strong consensus, and Russia was left isolated, as it has been many times since this war began. In fact, Foreign Minister Lavrov left the meeting early, maybe because the messages had become so resoundingly clear. As I said yesterday, the United States strongly supports the efforts of the United Nations in partnership with Turkey to bring Ukrainian and Russian grain to world markets. We need this initiative to move forward, and we need Russia to fully cooperate with it.
We’re also counting on other countries to do their part. At the United Nations about six weeks ago, the United States issued a Call to Action to step up to the food insecurity challenge. To date, 98 countries have signed on to the roadmap that we’ve put forward to address both near-term humanitarian needs and also building longer-term resilience. To date, the United States itself has contributed nearly $2.8 billion in emergency food assistance to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean.
And then at the G7 summit just two weeks ago, President Biden announced another $2.76 billion to strengthen global food security. This included longer-term investments to support agriculture production and resilience, and we look to other leading economies to step up as well.
We’ll continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people. Today, I can announce the United States will provide nearly $368 million in additional support, including food, safe drinking water, cash assistance, emergency health care, shelter, as well as support to coordination among humanitarian organizations that are doing so much of this critical work on the ground.
More than 11 million people in Ukraine, 11 million people, have fled their homes since the aggression began. That is more than a quarter of Ukraine’s entire population. The needs are tremendous and they’ll only increase as the war continues.
I commend Foreign Minister Retno of Indonesia and the Government of Indonesia for setting an agenda for the G20 that encompassed this and so many other timely, indeed urgent issues. At its best, the G20 brings countries together to mobilize targeted, coordinated action on the challenges that are actually having a direct impact on people’s lives. We saw that with the G20’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we have to bring that same commitment to dealing with the global consequences of this terrible war in Ukraine, which was an assault not only on Ukraine but also on the rules-based international order that has helped to safeguard peace and security worldwide for decades.
I also had an opportunity while here in Bali to meet with many of our allies and partners, including individual meetings with foreign ministers from Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, India, Argentina, and Fiji; a trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers of Japan and the Republic of Korea; and a meeting of the transatlantic Quad countries – Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
Earlier today, I met with State Councilor Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China for a little over five hours. The relationship between the United States and China is highly consequential for our countries but also for the world. We’re committed to managing this relationship, this competition, responsibly as the world expects us to do, leading with diplomacy.
State Councilor Wang and I discussed how we see the state of our bilateral relationship, and I had the opportunity to directly communicate our approach to the People’s Republic of China, as I laid out in a speech a few weeks ago. We talked about regional and global issues in which both of our countries have strong stakes, including the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine and North Korea’s nuclear program. We discussed where more cooperation between our countries should be possible, including on the climate crisis, food security, global health, counternarcotics. These are each global challenges that require major countries to do their part within the international community.
And of course, we addressed areas of disagreement and ways to manage and reduce risks. I conveyed the deep concerns of the United States regarding Beijing’s increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity toward Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and I relayed our concerns about the repression of freedom in Hong Kong, forced labor, the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Tibet, the genocide in Xinjiang.
Now, none of these are easy topics, but the United States seeks always to be a consistent voice on human rights and fundamental freedoms, not to stand against China or any other country but to help advance peace, security, and human dignity. As always, I raised cases of Americans who are detained or otherwise unable to leave the country.
Despite the complexities of our relationship, I can say with some confidence that our delegations found today’s discussions useful and constructive. Moving forward, the United States wants our channels of communication with Beijing to continue to remain open. And as always, we’re committed to defending and advancing the interests of the American people and American values in all of our engagements with Beijing.
So I want to end by simply thanking our hosts here in Indonesia for a terrific G20, for Indonesia’s leadership. I think you’ll see it produce results and pay dividends in the weeks and months ahead as we track to the leaders meeting of the G20 this fall.
And with that, happy to take some questions.
MR PRICE: Our first question, we’ll start with Iain Marlow with Bloomberg.
QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary. I’m just wondering: What did you communicate to State Councilor Wang about the role China could play diplomatically in terms of the war in Ukraine and the resultant food and energy crisis, and what was his response?
And secondly, I’m just wondering – Wang is on a much more extensive diplomatic trip of Southeast Asia at the moment than your own and is talking about specific infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries, specific investments. I’m just wondering: What does that say about the state of U.S.-China strategic competition in Southeast Asia? Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks very much.
So with regard to Ukraine and with regard to Russia’s aggression there and China’s role in that, I shared again with the state councilor that we are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia. Now, what you hear from Beijing is that it claims to be neutral. I would start with the proposition that it’s pretty hard to be neutral when it comes to this aggression. There is a clear aggressor. There is a clear victim. There is a clear challenge not only to the lives and livelihoods of people in Ukraine, but there is a challenge to the international order that China and the United States as permanent members of the Security Council are supposed to uphold.
So I think it’s hard to be neutral on this. But even if you accept that as a premise, I don’t think that China is, in fact, engaging in way that suggests neutrality. It supported Russia in the UN; it continues to do so. It amplified Russian propaganda. Going back even as Russia was massing its forces, President Xi chose to announce the “no limits partnership” with President Putin. Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, June 13th. In his call with President Putin, President Xi made clear that he stands by that decision.
More than four months now into this brutal invasion, the PRC is still standing by Russia. It’s echoing Russian propaganda around the world. It’s shielding Russia in international organizations. I believe it’s shirking its responsibility as a P5 member, as I said, and even engaging in joint military exercises. We saw that just recently with a strategic bomber patrol in East Asia.
So what I tried to convey to the State Councilor is this really is a moment where we all have to stand up, as we heard country after country do in the G20, to condemn the aggression, to demand among things that Russia allow access to food that’s stuck in Ukraine because of its blockade, and of course, that it end the war. So that was the nature of the conversation that we had, and I won’t characterize his response.
With regard to the Indo-Pacific more broadly, look, what we’re about is not asking countries to choose but giving them a choice when it comes to things like investment and infrastructure, development assistance, et cetera. There is on one level plenty of room for everyone to do that because the needs are immense, especially when it comes, for example, to infrastructure. But what we want to make sure is that we’re engaged in a race to the top – that is, we do things to the highest standards – not a race to the bottom where we do things to the lowest standards.
And so the work that we’ve been doing in the Indo-Pacific, including with developing the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, including with the Global Partnership for Investment Infrastructure, which would apply in this region as well, is to make sure that investments we’re making, work that we’re doing with countries in the region, go to the highest standards. We make sure, for example, that when we’re conducting investments in infrastructure we’re not ladling countries with debt; that we are advancing the protections for workers, for the environment; that we’re not advancing corruption; that we’re having people from the countries in question actually benefit from getting to do the work on the projects in question; that we build to the highest standards.
My hope would be that if, as China continues to engage itself in all of these efforts that it engages in a race to the top, that it raise its game. That would actually benefit everyone.
MR PRICE: We’ll turn to Laksana Agung.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I have two questions. The first question related to this day (inaudible) and going forward. Is the new cold war going to be the world order? If it’s so, please elaborate, including the impact to global economic politics and so forth. But if not, what kind of new world order that U.S. Government projected after the Russia-Ukraine war and when United States and China competition will dominate international politics over the next decade?
And the second question: Where do you place Indonesia in this regard, and how the U.S. will engage with the Indonesian Government and improve the cooperation between the two countries? Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks. I’ll just start with the second piece first.
Indonesia is a vital partner to the United States. This is now my second trip to Indonesia in this job. I think you can see the vital role that Indonesia is playing in its leadership of the G20 at an absolutely critical time for countries around the world. And what we saw over the last day and what I know we’ll see in the months ahead as we head to the leaders meeting of the G20 is Indonesian leadership setting a very strong and urgent agenda for the leading economies in the world and, as we saw with the foreign minister yesterday, really leading the conversation among all of us and trying to drive toward concrete results. I think this is just evidence of the vital role that Indonesia plays generally and that we’re seeing it play increasingly, and it’s something the United States values tremendously. The same is true across our bilateral relationship – something that the foreign minister and I had an opportunity to talk about yesterday.
With regard to the world order, I think the very point that so many countries emphasized yesterday is that what we’ve seen with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not only an aggression against the Ukrainian people but an aggression against the basic principles of the world order. Russia is waging a war that is challenging that order as well as challenging Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. It’s failing at both. Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence are clear, and we’re going to have a sovereign and independent Ukraine on the scene a lot longer than President Putin will be on the scene. But meanwhile, the death and destruction is terrible.
But it is also a challenge to the order. And if we were to allow that to proceed with impunity, if we didn’t stand up to Russia’s aggression, then the order that we would have is a world in which might makes right and in which large countries can bully smaller ones. That’s in no one’s interest. That’s a recipe for conflict around the world. It’s a recipe for instability. It’s a recipe for the kinds of things we’ve seen in the past in history that we thought we had moved beyond. So that’s why it’s so important that countries stand up to this aggression, that they insist that the aggression come to an end, and that together we uphold the basic principles that are the foundation of the order.
Now, the last thing I’ll say on – is this. The United States is a strong proponent of this order, of these basic principles that are enshrined in the United Nations Charter, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in so much international law that has followed both of those foundational documents. But we also believe that the order not only has to be defended, it also has to be reformed. It has to take account for the way the world is today, not just the way it was 70 or 80 years ago when these basic building blocks of the order were put into place. And that was also part of the discussion that we had, led by Indonesia, on multilateralism, on the future of multilateralism.
And the one thing we know is this: Not a single one of the problems that we talked about over the last day and that are actually affecting the lives of people can be effectively solved by any one of our countries acting alone, whether it’s the United States, whether it’s Indonesia or any other country. There is a greater imperative than at any time in my career for countries to find ways to work together, to cooperate, to collaborate. And that was the spirit of the G20, and we’re very grateful for Indonesia’s leadership.
MR PRICE: Rahmat Idris.
QUESTION: Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for this privilege. My name is Rahmat Idris from the Television the Republic of Indonesia, TVRI World. Yesterday’s foreign ministers meeting here in Bali, that it will become a successful platform for all these leaders to come together, that they come to sort of come together, find common ground and truly find solutions to the world crisis that food and energy – food and energy security, as you mentioned, particularly for the nations who are severely impacted by these crises, exacerbated by the ongoing geopolitical tensions and also the war in Europe. And what were some of the more significant deliverables from the meeting that can truly inspire change, be it through the stronger U.S. commitment within the G20 and also the framework of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy?
Thank you, Your Excellency.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you very much. Let me pick up where I left off. Just it starts with this basic premise, and actually the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi started with this in our opening session. This basic notion that none of the challenges the world is facing, whether it’s food insecurity, whether it’s rising energy prices, whether it’s the climate crisis, whether it’s global health, not a single one can be addressed by any one of our countries acting alone. We have to find ways to come together and collaborate.
The G20 is one of the most important vehicles to do that because it represents the leading economies in the world that have the resources and the wherewithal to make a real difference on these challenges. And I think what you’ve seen, we had something like 80 percent of global GDP is – was represented in that room yesterday. When we’re able to focus our efforts together, we can have a real impact.
Look at what we’ve done, including through the G20, just on COVID-19 over the last year and a half. Through the work of countries in the G20 we were able to increase the production of and access to vaccines. We were able to make sure that countries had more of a financial cushion, including with debt relief, to deal with some of the repercussions from COVID-19. Most recently, we’ve launched but with other G20 countries involved a Global Action Plan to make sure that even as we have vaccines the shots are actually getting into arms. All of these are concrete results from work the G20 countries are doing.
We focused over the last day on two things. One is, as we just discussed, trying to revitalize multilateralism. And that’s a means of doing things; it’s not an end in itself. But I think what was very, very palpable in the room across the many different geographies that were represented is a strong commitment to do just that. And I think you’re doing to see that play out in the weeks and months ahead.
Second, there was an intense focus on food security. And there, two things. First, if you were Foreign Minister Lavrov sitting in that room, you heard not only a chorus of condemnation when it comes to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but you heard country after country insisting that Russia let the grain out of Ukraine to get into world markets. The only thing that’s holding it back is a Russian blockade of the Black Sea ports and Odessa. And so we’ll see if Russia got the message. We’ll see by its actions over the coming days and weeks whether it actually cooperates with the effort that the UN is leading in partnership with Turkey to find a good mechanism to allow the grain to get out.
Now look, the easiest way for that to happen is for Russia to end the aggression, end its war, or at least get out of the way when it comes to Odessa. But short of that, this UN mechanism with Turkey would be a good way forward. We strongly support it. Russia needs to cooperate.
More broadly, there have been a series of initiatives taken over the last few weeks to try to deal with the immediate food insecurity crisis as well as the longer-term challenge of building greater resilience. One of those initiatives was something that we did, the United States did, at the United Nations about six weeks ago, where we launched a Call to Action to countries around the world and put out an actual roadmap with seven steps that countries could commit to taking that would address the immediate concern as well as trying to build greater long-term production and self-sufficiency.
As I said, now close to a hundred countries have signed onto that. One of the things we talked about yesterday was that initiative as well as some other initiatives, all of which involved the G20 countries. The need now is to, having made these commitments, to actually implement them, to move forward for example on making sure that the World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization have the funding they need, to make sure that fertilizer is being produced and distributed – that’s vital, to work with the international financial institutions to try to cushion the financial blow that countries are feeling as a result of food insecurity, to help them get food, to make the necessary investments in longer-term production and self-sufficiency, to share information more effectively amongst to look at different shortages and where we can target our efforts and resources.
So I think you’ll see coming out of the G20 and also heading into the leaders meeting of the G20 in the fall real action to implement the agenda that we’ve put out there on food security. Thank you.
MR PRICE: Okay, final question from Shannon Crawford of ABC.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, the majority of the G20 might be netted against Russian aggression, but we heard from virtually every participant here that they want to see peace brokered in Ukraine. And while the U.S. sends weapons to the battlefield, even President Zelenskyy says it will all end at the negotiating table. But through the entirety of the war, you’ve not met – you’ve refused to meet – with your Russian counterpart. Is this out of step with the international community? And by allowing the relationship to further deteriorate, is there not a cost to bear not only in terms of lives lost as the fighting drags on but also for Americans like Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner who are wrongfully detained in Russia?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Let me start with this: With regard to the G20 itself and what we came here to do, I think we had two objectives this week. One was to make sure, as we’ve just discussed, that the world’s largest economies were focused on it’s most urgent problems, following the agenda laid out by the Indonesian presidency. And that’s exactly what we did, particularly with regard to food insecurity.
At the same time, we were determined that we not proceed with business as usual given the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and I think it’s fair to say that we succeeded in both objectives. The discussion yesterday put the spotlight on some of the most pressing challenges we face, as we’ve talked about, and I think it was very important that since Foreign Minister Lavrov was there he heard loudly and clearly from around the world – not just the G7 countries – but many other countries as well, condemnation of Russia’s aggression and a clear call short of ending the aggression to allow food to get out of Ukraine to the world market.
So I think that was very important. The fact that Foreign Minister Lavrov chose not even to attend the session on food insecurity, having I think spent the morning hearing from virtually the entirety of the G20 about the Russian aggression and about the need to stop the blockade of Odessa, I think that was in and itself significant.
At some point this war will come to an end, and it will come to an end through diplomacy. The United States will – is always prepared to find ways through diplomacy to end conflict to bring peace, and that’s the case with regard to this aggression against Ukraine. The problem is this: We see no signs whatsoever that Russia at this moment in time is prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy. A number of other countries in close coordination with us have engaged with Russia in recent months. They report the same thing: no signs that Russia is prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy.
Meanwhile, I think our goal is clear, and you’ve heard the President speak to this at the G7, at the NATO summit, to make sure that we continue the support that we’ve been providing for Ukraine in terms of security assistance, humanitarian assistance, economic assistance. It’s to make sure that we keep the pressure on Russia so that we incentivize to actually engage in meaningful diplomacy. And both of those things will also give Ukraine the strongest possible hand to play when eventually there is a negotiating table. So that’s where we are. That’s where we are now.
But if we see any signs that Russia is actually prepared to engage in real diplomacy and bring this war to an end, of course we’ll engage in that, just as we spent months before the Russian aggression working to address what Russia said were its concerns about Ukraine, the alleged concerns that NATO and/or Ukraine somehow posed a threat to Russia. We engaged directly with the Russians. I spent many weeks doing this myself, including with Foreign Minister Lavrov. We had a NATO-Russia process. We had the OSCE.
What became increasingly apparent is that this was never about security concerns that Russia professed to have, whether a threat from NATO or a threat from Ukraine. It was always about what President Putin now acknowledges front and center about his conviction that Ukraine is not a sovereign, independent country, that it needs to be subsumed into Russia. He spoke about this in St. Petersburg just a few weeks ago. That’s what this has always been about. It’s what it remains about. And until Russia changes that perspective, that conviction, and is willing to end the aggression and engage in diplomacy to do it, this will continue, and we’ll continue to support Ukraine and keep the pressure on. If there is an opportunity for diplomacy, we’ll seize it.
MR PRICE: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.